Choc Lab with allergies and seizures!

I wonder if anyone can help me?

I have a 4 year old chocolate Labrador who has a few allergies (wheat, corn and soya bean), he has been on Burns Chicken & Oats weight control for the last couple of years just to keep his weight down which has worked well.

He then started to have seizures and the vet has put him on the medication Epiphen. One of the side effects is weight gain and increased appetite and now he has put on 6kg in weight since March. We were then advised to change his food to Hills RD, we were told this food would help him lose weight and decrease his appetite. It appears to have had the opposite effect as he is hungrier than ever, constantly asking for food. The only benefit we have seen so far is that his stools are more solid.

On the Burns, he was on 200g twice per day. On the Hills, he is on 160g twice per day. Now, I’m not sure which is the best food so does anyone have any advice?

You have a couple of issues here. I work with a lot of choc labs due to tendency to eat everything and put weight on. Have the intolerances to wheat, etc been proven? If so Hills RD contains wheat so would cause a reaction probably dry flaky skin and itchy. I have found it to be very expensive option but as a weight loss food works as much as many others.

What do you want from a weight loss food? L Canitine 400mg / KG to metabolise fat into muscle and wheat or lignocellulose to slow down digestion and help the dog feel fuller for longer. Extra bits could be slow feeding bowl or scatter feeding to ensure the dog spends time and effort on the food plus larger potentially with an ‘aero’ type kibble to make the food look more than it is. Also look at the feed rate and reduce by up to 25% (no pain no gain). Then aerobic exercise to burn the calories off with choc labs you have to walk further as they tend to be less likely to be manic. Swimming pool is always a good one. Obviously fat levels need to be low but comes down to feed rate of food.

You mention feed volumes which seem high but depends on target weight and metabolic rate. 400g per day will feed an average 40KG dog which I would drop to around 150gx2 for an overweight 40kg dog.

Epiphen has raised his desire for food but a as choc lab that is always high. Speak to vets about alternatives but its function is to increase the GABA amino acid levels in the brain. On that front, as a nutritionist not a vet, I would envisage improve the quality of feed will aid that process with more digestible proteins (not more protein and don’t look at % work out mg per feed).

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Hello and welcome to the forum. I agree with much of what Rhebden has said in the previous post. There is plenty of information on L-carnitine on the Internet. I thought that it was helpful in weight control too but claims that it is unproven. Have a look at that article because it provides a list of foods in which it naturally occurs.

The amount of food you are giving seems high. A friend has been dieting her Lab for some time and gives 100g twice daily but she sometimes gives small toppers e.g. raw beef. The dog has finally reached target weight thanks to diet, exercise and hydrotherapy. As Rhebden has said (and you probably know), Labs will go on eating no matter how much you give them. I think you just have to accept this and not respond to him asking for more. I don’t have this breed but I do know how troublesome this behaviour can be. I give my dogs three smaller meals each day and it seems to help.

On the subject of the current food, it seems that it isn’t working so it might be time to either go back to Burns or use the Dog Food Directory to source something different. As Rhebden has said, they key issues are quality protein and digestibility. A raw or home cooked diet can help with weight control but both need careful consideration before changing. We can help you find a different product but due to your dog’s illness, you would need to discuss any changes with your veterinary surgeon.

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A note on home made diets to back up Dottie’s caution that came from my recent study during exams. It was found in a study 2008 that only 30% of homemade feeds followed an appropriate recipe for cats and dogs and in many cases the food fails in the long term nutritional needs. Additionally 80% of all raw fed chicken diets contained salmonella. Sorry can’t copy directly as its copyrighted on my course work.